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Turkish Press Review, 07-05-04

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>

Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

04.05.2007


CONTENTS

  • [01] PARLIAMENT APPROVES BILL SETTING JULY 22 FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS
  • [02] SEZER: “I’LL CONTINUE TO SERVE UNTIL A NEW PRESIDENT IS CHOSEN”
  • [03] ERDOGAN CRITICIZES CHP, ANAVATAN FAVORING ELECTIONS IN SEPTEMBER
  • [04] BAYKAL: “THE DSP’S PRECONDITIONS ARE DISAPPOINTING”
  • [05] MUMCU: “THE GENERAL STAFF’S STATEMENT HELPED THE AKP”
  • [06] UNDER THE CONSTITUTION, THREE CABINET MINISTERS SET TO STEP DOWN
  • [07] LAGENDIJK: “THE AKP SHOULD BE PLAIN WITH THE PEOPLE”
  • [08] GREEK CYPRIOTS PUSH SPAIN TO TAKE MEDIATOR ROLE
  • [09] GOVT ANNOUNCES APRIL INFLATION
  • [10] WHAT KIND OF AN UNDERSTANDING IS THIS?
  • [11] A HISTORY LESSON FROM ISMET INONU

  • [01] PARLIAMENT APPROVES BILL SETTING JULY 22 FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS

    Parliament yesterday passed a bill by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to hold early general elections on July 22. The measure was supported both by the AKP and opposition parties, and the vote was unanimous. Addressing Parliament, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said that the elections would be held to solve Turkey’s problems, adding that political parties should act with common sense in such an atmosphere. Saying that parties were indispensable players in democracy, Cicek stated that it was natural for them to champion competing views. “The nation votes for the party it prefers and helps it come to power,” added Cicek. /Turkiye/

    [02] SEZER: “I’LL CONTINUE TO SERVE UNTIL A NEW PRESIDENT IS CHOSEN”

    Though he is due to step down on May 16, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said yesterday that under Article 102 of the Constitution, he would continue to serve until a new president is elected. “No one needs to worry because my term in office as president will continue” until a successor is found, said Sezer. Commenting on proposals for a popular vote for president to replace this current parliamentary system, Sezer said that if presidents are elected by the people then their powers should be limited. /Sabah/

    [03] ERDOGAN CRITICIZES CHP, ANAVATAN FAVORING ELECTIONS IN SEPTEMBER

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday criticized the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) for requesting that general elections not be held until September, saying that they had called for early elections but now claim polls in July would be problematic. Saying that the government had consulted the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) on the date for elections, Erdogan said that board had set the date, July 22. /Turkiye/

    [04] BAYKAL: “THE DSP’S PRECONDITIONS ARE DISAPPOINTING”

    Responding to the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) proposal for unification, the Democratic Left Party (DSP) Administrative Board yesterday released a statement saying, “We are ready to discuss every kind of formula, including standing for general elections under the umbrella of the CHP, but not any under which the DSP would be closed.” But CHP leader Deniz Baykal called the DSP’s move disappointing. Baykal reportedly said that the DSP’s preconditions would effectively block their efforts for unification. CHP deputy leader Mustafa Ozyurek added that the DSP’s statement fell short of both their wishes and the hopes of millions who marched in recent rallies. /Cumhuriyet-Aksam/

    [05] MUMCU: “THE GENERAL STAFF’S STATEMENT HELPED THE AKP”

    Opposition Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu yesterday said that last Friday’s statement by the Chief of General Staff had served to benefit the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Saying that after the statement an atmosphere painting the AKP as anti-military emerged, Mumcu argued that because of a custom left from the Ottoman Empire, the result of every general election in which the military opposes someone is clear. In related news, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had exploited the presidential election to lay the groundwork for a political crisis. Stating that the AKP was trying to destroy Turkish nationalism, Bahceli said that the ruling party must be voted out. /Hurriyet/

    [06] UNDER THE CONSTITUTION, THREE CABINET MINISTERS SET TO STEP DOWN

    Under the Constitution’s Article 114 and due to pending general elections, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu and Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim are due to step down immediately. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to appoint three independent figures from within or without Parliament to fill these posts. /Milliyet/

    [07] LAGENDIJK: “THE AKP SHOULD BE PLAIN WITH THE PEOPLE”

    Joost Lagendijk, co-chair of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Commission, yesterday said he knows there are some suspicions that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has sinister plans for Turkey. Speaking to the BBC, Lagendijk said that the European Union shouldn’t be worried about Turkey’s current political period. He said charges the AKP is making Turkey into a regime like Iran or Saudi Arabia are unrealistic. Stating that one million people taking to the streets was a part of democracy, Lagendijk added, “If you aren’t happy with something or if you have concerns about something, it’s very natural to give voice to this on the streets.” /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] GREEK CYPRIOTS PUSH SPAIN TO TAKE MEDIATOR ROLE

    Spain, which co-chairs the Alliance of Civilizations with Turkey, is now working to mediate between Greek Cyprus and Turkey. After visiting the Greek Cypriot administration and being told Turkey is blocking the UN process, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos was asked to be a mediator and work to persuade Turkey. “I will speak with [Turkish Foreign Minister] Abdullah Gul personally,” he said. “We’ll make an attempt with the EU or alone.” But the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) balked at Spain’s possible mediation. “This attempt is in vain,” said TRNC presidential spokesperson Hasan Ercakica. “The Greek Cypriots know that they won’t be able to solve the problem in line with their interests and so are trying to buy time through implying that a solution can be reached with direct contacts with Turkey. Anyone who wants to be a mediator should make attempts through the TRNC and Greek Cyprus, not Turkey.” /Hurriyet/

    [09] GOVT ANNOUNCES APRIL INFLATION

    The Turkish Institute of Statistics (TUIK) yesterday released monthly inflation figures for last month. The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 1.21% in April, while the producer price index (PPI) rose by 0.8%, pushing yearly CPI to 10.72% and PPI to 9.68%. /Milliyet/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [10] WHAT KIND OF AN UNDERSTANDING IS THIS?

    BY ZEKERIYA TEMIZEL (CUMHURIYET)

    Columnist Zekeriya Temizel comments on the concept of democracy and presidential elections in Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Turkey was supposed to head off possible chaos by exercising its constitutional institutions for perhaps the first time, without any problem and without damaging its democracy. Constitutional institutions and the nation were fulfilling the requirements of their responsibilities and duties in accordance with the law. Supposedly, chaos would be avoided, if this was done. However, things turned out differently. Political demagogues tried to turn every event into an opportunity and used illogic to attack institutions which sought to fulfill their duties. They branded the Constitutional Court ruling ‘a bullet aimed at the heart of democracy.’ But the person who said this started by stating that he respected the Court’s ruling. Can one respect a decision which is blasted as a bullet aimed at democracy? If the decision is respected, then can one make such a remark? What inconsistency! The Constitutional Court didn’t damage democracy with its decision, but fulfilled an important function for social peace by clarifying the constitution’s provision for a ‘culture of consensus’ in electing the president.

    When the General Staff issued a warning about ‘reaction and secularism’ and said it would fulfill its duties under the law, it was criticized from a different angle. It was implied that the institution which was given the duty of protecting and maintaining the republic and its principles was ‘dependent’ and ‘under command’ and thus this institution under command can’t do anything without getting such a command. I would like to remind the apostles of democracy of this issue. In democracies, no institution or public official is at the command of the people, but at the command of the law. In addition, in democratic states governed by the rule of law, it would be out of the question to neglect the duties laid out in the law. As long as they are in line with the law, commands are obeyed and illegal orders disobeyed. Moreover, fulfilling one’s duties under the law cannot be prevented unless these laws are abolished. Regimes where people are above the law aren’t called democratic republics, but fascism.

    Nonetheless, probably we can overcome the whirlwind in which the secular republic was put through democracy. The nation will find the solution and political parties will shape the people’s preference. The demand for unity was echoed by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). CHP leader Deniz Baykal told the Democratic Left Party (DSP) that the identity of later Premier Bulent Ecevit in the DSP is the common identity of leftists, which includes no treasonous felony, theft, corruption or betrayal. He added that people who vote for the DSP are the most honest and virtuous people in the country and he would like to unite with them. This open call has to be responded to. It can’t be rejected by reading the lines differently and it can’t fall victim to bargaining. If it is desired, there are solutions to reach a positive result.”

    [11] A HISTORY LESSON FROM ISMET INONU

    BY ZULFU LIVANELI ( VATAN )

    Columnist Zulfu Livaneli comments on left-wing parties in Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Yasar Kemal, a famous Turkish novelist and nominee for the Nobel Prize for Literature, went to the eastern city of Malatya in 1961 with Ismet Inonu, Atatürk’s comrade in arms during Turkey’s War of Independence and the Republic’s second President, to cover elections as a reporter.

    One night he called Kemal and asked him if a bird with only one wing can fly.

    “No,” answered Kemal.

    “This is our mistake, then.” replied Inonu. “A democracy should also have two wings: the left wing and the right. We expected a bird lacking one wing to fly.”

    This conversation took place in 1961, when an attempt at democracy failed (leading to a coup). In this respect it is very important because if politics in Turkey hadn’t been limited to the right-wing Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the right-wing Democrat Party (DP) as Inonu stated, Turkey could have been in a much more different state now.

    Objecting to the single-party system, the DP came out with leftist slogans and it represented the depressed, but it focused its policies mostly on religion and conservatism, which made Turkey a bird with only one wing.

    After Kemal and Inonu’s talk, the Workers Party (TİP) was established and Inonu himself said that the CHP was a center-left party.

    That way, they tried to fill the void in the regime and to fit a second wing to the bird. This attempt failed, too. The TİP was closed. The CHP, on the other hand, couldn’t become a left-wing party representing the depressed. It has no such claim today, anyway.

    Kemal’s story can shed light on the political crisis we have been experiencing recently. Today, too, our politics lacks a left wing. Even the political jargon has changed accordingly. Before, leftist parties such as TİP used the ‘public’ concept while rightist parties used ‘nation’. Now, however, everyone uses the latter and tries to take advantage of conservative values.

    Concepts such as working class, labor and unions were put on the back burner. We turned back to the beginning and are experiencing the same things. You’ll see… It won’t be able to fly again. Rightist and leftist ideas which couldn’t be united will compete to express themselves by focusing upon religion and ethnicity. If we want to make a modern democracy and save Turkey from polarization, we should listen to Inonu’s words. Because what he said is known from experience!”


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